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Living in one of America's fittest cities might help your health insurance rates

By Megg Mueller on September 15th, 2010

If you live in Oklahoma City, Okla., could your health insurance rates be higher than if you live in Washington, D.C.? Geography can play a part, and in the case of the two cities mentioned, it likely does. Our nation's capital was named America's fittest city in the annual American Fitness Index (AFI) report, published by the American College of Sports Medicine, while Oklahoma City came in last.

The District of Columbia has come in first the last three years in a row, and some of the reasons include a low smoking rate, lower-than-average rate of obesity, and people in the city love their fruits and vegetables, according to the report. Other factors are things like the number of parks and other recreation areas.

It stands to reason that the more active your community is, the more likely it is you'll be active, too. Bike lanes and swimming pools, running trails and recreational sport's teams; these all can add up to a healthier lifestyle. People who are active and fit tend to find better health insurance rates when shopping for individual health insurance plans. Unlike a group health plan through an employer, an individual plan asks about an applicant's height and weight, cholesterol levels, smoking habits, and blood pressure. If there are enough negative factors, your medical insurance rates could go through the roof.

If you live in Oklahoma City, or one of the other cities at the bottom of AFI's report, this doesn't mean you're doomed to poor health or expensive health insurance. It might just mean you have to work a little harder to get your fitness goals met. Plus, if you do change your habits to lead a healthier lifestyle, think about what you can do with all the money you save on your health insurance rates. You might just be able to move to a fitter, healthier city. At the very least, you'll enjoy the city you're in a whole lot more as a healthy person.

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